Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Music Composition

Degree Program

Music with a concentration in Music Composition, MM

Committee Chair

Rouse, Steve

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Satterwhite, Marc

Committee Member

Satterwhite, Marc

Committee Member

Lloyd, Kimcherie

Author's Keywords

baby book; soprano; orchestra; musical score; motherhood; miscarriage


Baby Book is a 12-minute work for soprano and orchestra. It sets three poems from Chloe Yelena Miller's collection of the same name. It will later be expanded into a six-movement work. The cycle explores miscarriage, pregnancy, and motherhood.

I. Great Aunt Dora

II. Objects

III. Children's Pool Game

Great Aunt Dora is a real person; she is the poet's own great aunt, a dearly beloved family matriarch. This poem is a conversation between the mother and the growing child inside her. Great Aunt Dora passed away before she could meet the child. Thus, the conversation is bittersweet, but full of fondness and reminiscence. It is a beautiful vignette that unites these generations. "Great Aunt Dora" has the appeal of a familiar lullaby, with enough interest in the rhythm, harmony, and orchestral color to lend a novel sound. "Objects" is at its heart a lament. A mother grieves her child and struggles with having no tangible means of recognizing her loss as with other deaths, which further isolates her. Several musical devices unify this movement. The chords of C minor and A♭ Major 7 are used frequently and create a sense of harmonic ambiguity. A variation of the latter, A♭-D-E♭-G, creates an even more striking, dissonant chord which colors the most dramatic, painful moments of the work. A prominent motive, here and throughout the cycle, is heard on the text "There's nothing to wear, carry..." and is recalled both in powerful and quiet moments, a reminder of this profound loss. "Children's Pool Game" emerges directly from "Objects." The title implies lighthearted amusement. Indeed, after the opening quote from "Objects," the musical material transforms into something more playful, yet somehow disquieting. The true intention of this movement reveals itself only at its end, and it resonates in a much deeper place in our hearts. The composer hopes this cycle will foster dialogue about miscarriage as part of the healing process and will recognize and celebrate women through these shared experiences.

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Composition Commons